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Theatre Review: Romeo and Juliet @ Shakespeare’s Globe


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This production of Romeo and Juliet is unlike any version you’ve ever seen. 

Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is one of the most well-known plays out there; everyone knows the story of these star-crossed lovers and their tragic demise. 

This adaption, directed by Daniel Kramer at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, is far from traditional, however. It opens with two women being rolled onto the stage, each giving birth to small caskets in a nod to the famous ending of the story, while a voiceover professes the prologue. It soon turns into an opening dance number, fit with strobe lighting and provocative dancing.

It’s extremely jarring and may have audience members looking around to make sure they’re in the right place. The production continues with all characters wearing white clown makeup and outfits that don’t exactly fit any time period. This adaptation is meant to be modern, with recent cultural references such as the characters dancing to “YMCA” by the Village People at the Capulet ball scene, which turns into an extravagant costume party (with costumes ranging from Goofy to Godzilla).

The unconventional elements of the production are quite distracting at first, but the flashiness of it doesn’t slow down. These distracting elements are something the production can get away with due to this plot being so well known already. Nothing is held back with this production; it remains consistent and it follows through with its vision.

Additionally, the characters are satirised, as is their courtship, which works extremely well. The characters are played with in a way that stays faithful to the way Shakespeare wrote them, yet brings new life to them by placing so much of the focus on the juvenile-like qualities within their courtship.

Edward Hogg and Kirsty Bushell are wonderful in their roles as the title characters, with Hogg especially shining through as Romeo. He makes his stage introduction by trudging onto the stage wearing black skinny jeans and headphones, with a frown on his face, presenting a moody and angsty Romeo that perfectly fits the production's juvenile perspective. The supporting cast is also incredible, with Golda Rosheuvel being particularly noticeable as Mercutio, in a gender-swapping of the original character that works flawlessly.

This production of Romeo and Juliet is like nothing you’ve ever seen. It’s completely unique and stands on its own, even if extreme measures were taken to get there. The original beloved story is there, just underneath a very ostentatious package. If you don’t mind an unconventional take on a traditional play, then the Globe’s current Romeo and Juliet is worth checking out. 

To find out more or purchase tickets, visit the Globe website, here

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